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Monday, August 26, 2019


(Right: Buddha in Africa)

A ‘reely’ interesting selection of films will be on offer at the 27th Hilton Arts Festival taking place at Hilton College from September 13 to 15, 2019.

As part of the 237 scheduled events this year, a feast of film has been programmed with the organisers welcoming for the first time to the festival, the Durban International Film Festival, the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival, Enviro Champions, and films by independent film makers.

The Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) will feature six films to be screened over the weekend in the Lecture Theatre B. There are five South African features and documentaries: Buddha in Africa (Nicole Schafer’s delicately observed documentary about a Chinese Buddhist orphanage in Malawi) which won the Best SA Documentary at DIFF and this qualifies for a consideration for a nomination for an Oscar; Dying for Gold (a devastating documentary about how the mining industry was a key force in shaping apartheid South Africa); Letters of Hope (set in 1976 South Africa about a 16 year-old boy who wants to be a policeman against the wishes of his father); the Afrikaans film (with English subtitles) Spokie Gaan Huise Toe/ Little Ghost Goes Home (a highly experimental feature which takes a self-exploratory journey into the past guided by the spirits of nostalgia) and Uncovered (a gripping thriller set against the compromised political reality of post-apartheid South Africa).

The sixth film includes an authentic Namibian tale entitled The White Line – a love story reminding us that the apartheid laws extended beyond South Africa’s borders.

A number of independent film makers will be presenting films at the festival:

(Left: Sides of a Horn)

Sides of a Horn (Sir Richard Branson’s story of Africa’s poaching war told from both sides of the fence) and Siyabonga (a docufiction story of a tenacious aspirant actor wanting to be in a locally made film). There will a screening of Buddha in Africa (in addition to the DIFF screening).

For the adventure and thrill seekers: the adrenaline pumping, edge-of-your-seat shorts that make up the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival celebrate the finest mountain-related filmmaking from across the globe. VIMFF has an exhilarating programme which is centred on mountain adventure including rock climbing, trail running, alpinism, mountain biking, white water paddling and extreme skiing; and an enviro-culture programme focusing on environmental issues with themes addressing river conservation and the anti-dams movement in the Balkans; Patagonia; Global Warming and Mountain Usage.

(Right: Siyabonga)

Another newcomer to the fest is Enviro Champions. Situated in the basement of the Grindrod Theatre, the Enviro Champions offer a selection of free movies and talks relating to the global issue of pollution and its effects on our world. The eco programme includes Eating up Easter (the remote islands in the Pacific and how they are dealing with the giant snowball of globalisation and the massive influx of tourism where they are debating what this means to their small community), and Our Oceans (a journey of discovery along one of the longest, and richest, coastlines in the world, highlighting the impending threats, and all the while promoting the protection of our oceans). Dr Andrew Venter (Executive Producer) and Lauren van Nijkerk (Producer) will be at the Saturday screening for Q&A/ discussion after. Dr Venter will attend the Sunday screening for Q&A. Also part of the Enviro Champions programme, is Otelo Burning, the surf film set in Durban based on a true story.

In amongst the doccies and features are a handful of shorts. Included here is The Litterboom Project, a two-minute video that focuses on stopping plastic pollution from ending in the ocean. Another two-minute clip entitled The Parley Corona, and Street Surfer, an eight-minute video following Frank Solomon, a big wave surfer from Cape Town who travels inland to meet Thabo and Mokete, two exceptional men who indirectly serve the environment through recycling as a means of income.

There will also be an eco-themed stall at the market and make sure to look out for the goby fish made of wire to collect plastic bottles.

Some film-screenings are free of charge, and others are ticketed – see the full programme for details. Booking is now open, and the programme is live on the festival website. For more information visit or contact the Festival Office on or 033 383 0127.

The Festival is presented by Hilton College and tiso blackstar in association with Grindrod, Black Coffee, Extreme Events, DWR, Absa, Bidvest Car Rental, FNB, KZN Dept of Art & Culture, BASA, Southern Sun PMB, Stella Artois, Redlands Hotel, Maritzburg Sun, Caxton, SA Artist, Loud Crowd Media, Sappi.